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Putting Kibosh on Childhood Injuries

September 22, 1998|LINN GROVES

From burns to bike crashes, most childhood injuries are preventable.

That's the message behind a new classroom program introduced Monday to teachers at Zion Lutheran School by the Fire Department and Orange County Burn Assn.

The RISK WATCH program targets the eight greatest threats of accidental injury to children: motor vehicle crashes; fires and burns; choking, suffocation and strangulation; poisoning; falls; firearms accidents; bike and pedestrian hazards; and water hazards.

"To see these kids coming in [to the hospital]--and so many of the injuries are preventable," said Stephanie Lush, UCI Medical Center trauma coordinator. "We think this is a great program."

RISK WATCH lesson plans will include problem-solving and role-playing exercises. Children as young as preschool age will act as "storytellers" and talk about kids their age who were injured. Students in grades one through six will be "detectives" and then "reporters." Students in seventh and eighth grades will become "coaches" who teach younger children how to be safe.

"Education is the key. When I was a kid, we didn't even think about wearing bicycle helmets," said Dianne McCain, an advocate of bicycle safety and the RISK WATCH curriculum.

McCain said she plans to introduce RISK WATCH to the school where she works. Anaheim fire officials hope the program soon will be in schools citywide.

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